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AA Daily Reflections: Finding Strength When You’re In Recovery

Last Updated: March 14, 2022

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

AA daily reflections are thoughtful reminders that accompany every day in the calendar year to guide and inspire people in recovery. They also serve to act as part of a routine so members can reflect on their progress and how much work they still have to do. The texts are taken primarily from Alcoholics Anonymous literature, but they can come from other sources. They are also usually accompanied by a member’s personal reflection on that passage.

What Are The Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections?

The Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections (DR) are taken from an eponymous collection published in the early 1990s by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization. The meditations themselves are derived from the central text of the Alcoholics Anonymous philosophy, “Alcoholics Anonymous: How Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism” aka the Big Book. The Big Book is the text that focuses mainly on the 12 Steps, which is the primary recovery tool offered by the group.

The DR Text Is Meant to Act as a Complement to the “Big Book,” as It Focuses on Other Areas of Recovery Like: 

  • Personal history
  • The strength of the community
  • The promise of every day

There is a daily reflection for every day printed on each page. Every thought comes with a personal reflection of a person in recovery underneath. For example, the first day of the year, January 1st, features a passage taken from the Big Book and is entitled “I Am a Miracle” it states:

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves. 

Like all the reflections, the passage is intended to trigger members to meditate on the passages’ meaning to them and their lives. The response to the selection is meant to be an exercise in introspection. A person explores how alcohol has negatively affected their lives while also exploring how they can move past their mistakes to become a better person.

How Are AA Daily Reflections Used in Recovery?

The AA daily reflections quotes are meant to act as a companion to those in recovery. AA thoughts for the day can provide daily affirmations to avoid negative feelings that can trigger self-destructive behavior. AA reflections are essential because they can offer support outside of the regular structure of AA meetings.

People who have already gone through recovery can also use an AA reflection of the day to strengthen their resolve and inspire them to help others struggling. The passages can even serve those who are not, or have never been, in recovery as they are general enough to provide a positive and uplifting message to anyone.

Open AA Daily Reflections book.

Are AA Daily Reflections Effective?

Whether AA daily reflections are practical also goes to the question of whether the overall 12-step program is effective in treating alcohol abuse. This is a question that many have posed over the years, as more evidence-based treatments for alcohol abuse have been discovered.

However, several studies have found the 12-steps to treat alcohol and substance abuse to be as effective as other types of treatment, although they have found it does not work for everyone in every setting. Another positive aspect of the 12-step program is that it is more economically viable for participants who otherwise cannot afford treatment at private facilities.

One relevant finding in these studies is that, compared with different levels of participation in the AA program, the more intense and structured programs (like those using AA quotes) were found to produce better results than those who only participated in meetings and nothing else.

Another positive aspect of the program embodied by its literature is that the organization is a social support group, which is extremely helpful to people in recovery who need that type of support. The social support provided by meetings and, by extension, the daily reflections are connected to higher attendance rates, which translates to more prolonged abstinence among members.

Where To Find the AA Daily Reflections?

People who want to find the reflections do not have to look very far. They can find the original hard copy book:

  • At any local AA meeting where sometimes the book is given out for free
  • At any online book retailer like Amazon
  • An audio version of the book is available on Audible

Several online versions are posted on different sites that advocate or support people in recovery. In addition, PDF version of the book can be downloaded for free here.

What is AA Approved Literature?

AA-approved literature refers to any publication (book, pamphlet, guidebook, etc.) that has been approved by AA World Services Inc., which truly reflects the experience of the AA community. The type of literature approved by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization ranges from the Big Book and the daily passages to educational and historical texts that outline the origins of the 12-Step program.

AA-approved literature is available in several formats and languages and is often distributed to participating chapters worldwide. Newcomers can ask their AA sponsors about it or find them either online or in hard copy versions at local bookstores, meetings, or institutional settings.

Some Prominent Examples of AA Approved Literature Include: 

  • The Big Book, the original version, and special editions
  • Explainer texts aimed at different audiences (teenagers, participants, family members)
  • Surveys, reports, and transcripts of meetings
  • Pamphlets and fact sheets

Apart from the traditional ways to find the daily reflections and other AA-approved literature (at meetings, from other members, etc.), social media users can also access the group’s literature through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

This easy accessibility ensures that people who need the support and wisdom of these kernels of wisdom can find them anywhere and at any time.

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Page Sources

  1. Kaskutas L. A. (2009). Alcoholics anonymous effectiveness: faith meets science. Journal of addictive diseases, 28(2), 145–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/10550880902772464
  2. Kelly, J. F., Abry, A., Ferri, M., & Humphreys, K. (2020). Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-Step Facilitation Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder: A Distillation of a 2020 Cochrane Review for Clinicians and Policy Makers. Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire), 55(6), 641–651. https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agaa050
  3. Pfund, R. A., Hallgren, K. A., Maisto, S. A., Pearson, M. R., & Witkiewitz, K. (2021). Dose of psychotherapy and long-term recovery outcomes: An examination of attendance patterns in alcohol use disorder treatment. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 89(12), 1026–1034. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000703

Published on: February 1st, 2022

Updated on: March 14th, 2022

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.